I’ve been falling back into my bad habits this week. Cursing myself out at the slightest misstep (“why the EFF did you just walk me into the doorframe, Jess???”), lashing out at gravity for daring to exist (“go home, gravity, you’re drunk! The nerve you have keeping me from floating off into outer space!!) and generally seeing everything in my path as an obstacle needing to be overcome (*riding bike* “see that guy walking two blocks ahead of you, he’s going to be a problem; you better re-route!”).
I know part of it stems from the oppressive heat and its accompanying wall of dense smoke. My brain’s not getting quite enough oxygen to operate at maximum efficiency, me thinks! Aside from that, I know it’s just an unconscious step backwards. Like when someone suddenly appears in your space and you are repelled away like opposing poles of a magnet. (Oh, that’s just me…. with every person on the planet? Right, carry on!)
With all of the successes I’ve experienced forging forward on this new path, a little fear is not only understandable, but necessary. I don’t want to get lost again. I don’t want to lose my way when I’ve just found it. I’ve made so much progress and yet every day it’s clear there’s so far to go.
It’s the negative self-talk that is the most concerning. As I’ve mentioned previously, I talk to myself pretty much all the time. I’ve gotta guess (or hope!) we all do. Most people hide it better than I do, I’m sure. It’s not even the being heard by others part that’s the problem. It’s embarrassing AF, yes, but it doesn’t have the long-lasting negative effects of my internal poisoned dialogue.
It usually starts with me dropping something, stubbing my fingers on whatever I’m working on/reaching for or generally futzing up some aspect of my day that I consider to be effortless. What follows are expletive laden names I call myself that cannot be repeated here. If the frenzy of insults fails to alleviate the build-up of negative energy, I often move on to threats of incessantly colorful, completely fictional violence including suggestions to slam my face into the wall next time instead of my hand and allusions to the rural ditch they’ll find my body in when I murder myself. Hey, I didn’t say that these things made sense! Just that they happen.
If there’s a ray of light in the situation, it’s that they happen less often now that I don’t hate nearly every aspect of my life. The positive changes I’ve made elsewhere have carried through to my state of mind in almost every way. The effort involved is monumental though and if I lose focus on my quest for happiness for even a moment those old thoughts come racing back.
I reached out to one of my oldest friends today. We had plans to hang out a few weeks ago that never quite manifested. I’ve been typing messages to her in my head all week, but keep forgetting to put fingers to key pad when I’m actually holding my phone! Seems all I think about these days is blogging; who knew this stuff was so addictive? Anyways, she sent me these pictures from her hike to Joffre Lakes near Whistler on Tuesday and graciously provided me with permission to share them with you.
My friend had some health issues not too long ago; things that were serious, life-altering and more than just a little scary. She made the choice to put physical wellness first in her life and slowly worked her way up to adopting a healthier lifestyle. I can’t share all the details or exactly what worked for her, because a.) this is not that kind of blog; and b.) it’s her story, not mine. I mention this only because I find her successes so inspiring.
It’s mind over matter. If you want to change, change. That’s all. It’s that fundamentally simple and that ridiculously complicated.
My friend chose to pursue fitness in an effort to improve medical conditions, but found a true love for physical activity. As well as getting seriously into hiking, she has competed in several marathons and adventure races lately. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and tell her so all the time!
So, if I can vocalize my positive thoughts to others maybe it will get easier to introduce them to the endlessly running conversation with myself. I want to like me. It’s just new territory, that’s all. I just need “persistence and patience” Tamara reminds me.
You never know what you might discover about yourself when you choose to make just one positive change. Start small. You may just blow your own socks off. And above all, remember to cut yourself some slack. If that little slice of inspirational goodness only tantalized your thirst for sunshiney-motivational-memeness, please log onto your Instagram or Facebook and I’m sure within a six second scroll, your fix will be fulfilled. As for me, I shall try to focus harder on being nicer to myself. A work in progress. Story of my life! Always.
All photo credits go to my dear friend Tamara Taylor.